Seeing my first gay pride parade

Outside of our hotel here in Winnipeg the annual Gay Pride parade marched by yesterday afternoon, and the journalist in me forced me outside to observe. Suggestion to the Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered community: If you want to become socially acceptable, parade in business suits or go business casual. Lesbians and transvestites, wear nice dresses. Gentlemen, wear shirts. Also trousers. Everyone, keep your leather fetish gear in the closet, if I may use that term, and try to defy, rather than confirm, the stereotypes. If heterosexuals carried on like you do, they wouldn’t be allowed to get married either.

Even Canadians got da blues

I’m still here at the Lutheran Church Canada convention in Winnipeg. Their convention seems much less contentious than those I’m used to. Anyway, there’s a blues joint close to the hotel, so last night some like-minded pastors and I took our lives in our hands and went in. Here we found a hot band with a gravelly-voiced singer, name of Big Dave McClean, playing pure, traditional, 12-bar Delta blues.

Blues is a splendid art form. It has 12 measures, following a rigid chord progression, with lyrics in a strict poetic form. It is NOT pop culture, though pop culture as well as the high culture of jazz grew out of it, but is rather folk culture, highly traditional, conservative, and historically resonant and culturally rich. Blues is one of those highly-structured art forms–like the sonnet, the mystery novel, or (as one of the pastors pointed out) the liturgy–whose constants make possible infinite variety and total artistry.

Between sets we discussed theology, and the coolness factor was very high. I wish each and every one of you could have joined us.

John the Steadfast

The new organization supporting the new “Issues, Etc.” program is being named Brothers of John the Steadfast. I like naming things after people like that (he said from the Cranach blog). Here is a great account of who John the Steadfast was–the brother of and successor to Elector of Saxony Frederick the Wise, literally the first “protestant,” and the Prince who really protected and cultivated the Reformation–by Martin R. Noland. Picture by Cranach:

John the Steadfast

Get Service

This video was shown at the Lutheran Church Canada convention. Recall that the purpose of every vocation is to love and serve not so much God in isolation but, as He commands, your neighbor. (Luther: “God doesn’t need your good works; but your neighbor does.”) The video thus fit in well with my topic:

Big Brown and the Economy

Where superstition, gambling, and the stock market intersect: According to this article, Big Brown victory may spook markets, whenever a horse wins the Triple Crown, the stock market plunges for the rest of the year. However, when a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (as Big Brown has done so far) but LOSES the Belmont Stakes (to be run on Saturday), the market goes up.

So cheer for anyone but Big Brown. But if he wins, sell everything you have in the market, which, if everyone does it, would create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Stealing whiskey vs. stealing art

Here is a fascinating history of international copyright law, occasioned by recent attempts to bolster it even more in light of the new techological “sharing” possibilities. Back in the 19th century, copyright used to extend only within a particular country. That meant that America, Canada, and England used to pirate each other’s authors, printing their work and giving them no royalties. That eventually changed, due to the crusading, among others, of Mark Twain, who would travel to these other nations and ask why someone who stole his bottle of whiskey would get imprisoned but nothing happens to someone who steals his writings.

The article alluded to some people who resist these laws even today, maintaining that copyright restricts education, people’s access, and whatnot. I certainly understand why people download music illegally. But I can’t see how that can be justified in any kind of moral argument. Attempts to say that stealing music or other created products are anything but violations of the commandment seem to be just casuistry (in the sense I explained a few days ago in a comment) so as not to think of oneself as a sinner. Isn’t Twain’s analogy valid? Can any of you think of a moral justification for taking an artist’s property without paying for it?